From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog: Weird Science

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Weird Science

Couple of interesting tidbits I picked up trolling Majikthise today. I was going back over posts accumulated in my Bloglines aggregator.

First off Lindsay links to this story about what I believe is the first ever microbe bank, established in Brazil.

Hundreds of bacteria, fungi and yeast species, mostly collected from the wilds of Brazil, have been made available to researchers looking for new chemicals with scientific or industrial applications.

The microbe bank — dubbed the Brazilian Collection of Environmental and Industrial Microorganisms — is housed at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) and was inaugurated on 24 February.

''We intend to put this collection at the service of the scientific and industrial community, by preserving, identifying, maintaining and distributing these microorganisms,'' says biologist Lara Sette, the collection's curator.
Given the progress made in cloning in recent years, I wonder if this will be the salvo that leads to copyrighting someone or something's genetic code? Or am I behind and that area's already been broached?

On a slightly less scientific and more morbid level, she also links to this:

When Josiah Spode died in l797, his son Josiah II revolutionized the production of European porcelain with the invention of bone china. The translucency of Spode’s brand of fine English china was the result of adding powdered cow bone ash to the company’s secret clay mixture. Granulated calcified human cremains -- commonly known as mortuary ash -- added to a porcelain "slip" which can then be be cast into a variety of shapes is ceramicist Charles Krafft’s visionary idea for revolutionizing the American funerary arts. Why leave the funeral parlor in a cardboard box or homely urn when you can can extend your memory and usefulness to family and friends for generations to come by actually becoming a lovely hand painted SPONE® commerative portrait plate or vase instead?
Jesus, you could become your own funerary urn to hold the rest of your ashes? Uh, no thanks. Man that's just messed up.